Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Collateral Damage

So I stopped by Starbucks this morning. I needed a cup of foo-foo coffee after dropping #2 kid off at school. I was on my way to buy some skins for a used truck that I bought for #2 kid to drive after he gets his license.

I open the door into Starbucks and note that it's quite crowded. I also see a couple deputies standing near the counter waiting for their coffee. I get in line, check my blackberry and wait my turn.The deputies move toward the exterior wall to get out of the way as other customers pick up their orders.

I had noticed a couple of guys sitting at a table when I walked in. They were likely painters, as they were wearing white painter's pants and white caps, both spattered with various colors of paint. As I was focused on some texts that I had received, I had kind of ignored the painters and was just there minding my own business.

As I was texting the saint that I am married to, I suddenly became aware of a voice saying something like "full of cops and firemen". I look up and Mr. Painterman is looking at me. At first I thought that It might have been someone I knew busting my chops or something, but I didn't recognize this guy. Then I figured his comments were aimed at the deputies and went back to my blackberry.

I was a little less focused on my phone and a little more aware of Mr. Painterman. I can hear him still talking shit. I can't tell exactly what he is saying, but the tone of his voice and then the way he raises his voice when he got to the words "cops and firemen" tells me that somehow, I am part of his problem.

The deputies get their coffee and leave. I take another look around the room and see no other individual that I recognize as law enforcement or fire service. So when Mr. Painterman makes another comment,  I know that I am his problem.

Painterman and his buddy get up to leave. We stinkeye each other as he walks to the door and again, I don't recognize him. He says nothing to me or at me and leaves.

WTH? Whats up with that? If I have met him, he does not know me well enough to talk shit. If he has never met me, what is his deal? Was he trying to provoke me and the deputies into confronting him? Was his initial focus on the deputies and I just happened to walk in? Maybe he was an old arson suspect from back in the day. I just don't know and it puzzles me.

Another thing, how did this guy know I work for the FD? I was wearing jeans, hiking boots and an "Ott House Pub" T-shirt. (that will bring back some memories for you NFA attendees) The only thing that might have tipped him off was the Spyderco knife that I have clipped in my pocket.

Regardless, this clown was way out of line. I'm glad it ended up the way it did, rather than if had occurred at O'Malleys or something. I'm just not used to being the focus of someones ire like that., especially early in the morning, before I've had my coffee. We were both lucky this didn't go any further, I am pretty grumpy until I start absorbing that coffee.

Next time, I think I'll just use the drive through..

Thanks for reading,
A puzzled Schmoe


  1. Ahh...The old OTT House. Between their and the Command Post Pub, many fond memories of my trips to Emmitsburg....

  2. Dear Captain Schmoe,
    I can't think of one reason for anyone to be that uncivil to anyone who is minding their own business.

    There has been yet another ambush in Washington State (and some others elsewhere). I do hope you will continue to look up from your Blackberry and check your back at times like this.

    Last of all, like peedee I must curse now. Apologies in advance, here goes.

    What a jackass!

    Wishing you kinder mornings,
    Ann T.

  3. Probably someone who couldn't pass the test or jealous of your Ott House shirt.

    But speaking of this subject coupled with your shirt, I've been in the Ott House before and gotten the same reception, so chalk it up to people who aren't happy with their own situation and just want to take it out on others.

  4. Capt Schmoe:

    My first thought--probably failed the civil tests for firefighter and/or police officer and is all bitter about it, instead of studying and working out to improve before trying again.

    The Observer

  5. Still puzzled by this but whattaya gonna do.

    As far as the Ott House goes, ask just about anyone who has attended the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg MD. and they will have a tale to tell about the Ott House. Often the tale will involve the Thursday night before coming home and how hungover they were at the graduation ceremony. Good Times.

  6. Zen question of the day: Was the painter or was he not in the same coffe shop at the same time as the cops and firemen?

  7. Zen answer - as far as I could tell, it was only the two deputies and me. If there were any other public safety folks, they were deep deep undercover. I was in civilian clothes as well. Who knows.